Posted on: Friday 18 February 2022
Posted in: Anglican Faith Connections
One of the joys of working in a Pre-Prep to Year 12 school is watching the development of our students from age 4 to age 18. To see them walking into school on their first day: some happy, some overawed and some confidently saying goodbye to their parents who are usually somewhat more emotional. Then to see them graduate as assured, young adults some thirteen years later is in itself a real privilege.
Another privilege is to help guide them along the way in lessons and in chapel. For example, this week’s Chapel for the Junior School is on kindness. We heard the story of Blind Bartimaeus who has his sight restored by Jesus. It is a simple story: Jesus is leaving Jericho with his disciples on his way to Jerusalem. At one of Jericho’s gates, Bartimaeus is sitting begging because he is blind and can’t work. At that time in the ancient world, such a condition as blindness, or any serious disease, was seen as a divine judgement and so the afflicted person was ostracised especially so if they had a skin disease.
As a result, Bartimaeus is not only unable to work but on the outer of his society as well. Jesus ignores this societal view and, when he hears Bartimaeus crying for help, restores his sight. The story ends with Bartimaeus following Jesus. It is obviously an act of sheer kindness which is the hallmark of Jesus’ ministry. He always saw the person and not the stereotype. It is this type of kindness that Christians are to show as they love God by loving their neighbour. It is not a meek and mild affair as it might mean going against the crowd or as this year’s Senior School Prefects’ motto has it: “Stand up, Stand out!”.
So, kindness should be a spiritual trait, but it also has a physical aspect. We feel better in ourselves and about ourselves when we act in a kindly manner. More importantly, the person to whom we are kind also feels better. To demonstrate this physical aspect of kindness, I showed a short YouTube film, the Science of Kindness, (https://youtu.be/O9UByLyOjBM), which looks at the bodily chemistry of kindness and well worth viewing. But it is not just in religious or scientific thought where the importance of kindness is discussed but also in philosophy as the ancient Greek thinker Aesop said: “No act of kindness, however small is wasted”. I pray that we may all be known for our kindness.
Fr Patrick Duckworth